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Hundreds of US-bound migrants set off in Honduras in first caravan of 2022

The migrants, mostly young people carrying backpacks on their shoulders and women with children, left a bus terminal in the northern city of San Pedro Sula for the border post of Corinto in an attempt to enter Guatemala, according to television images.

Asylum-seeking migrants from Haiti cross the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., in Ciudad Juarez
Asylum-seeking migrants from Haiti cross the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Jan. 3, 2022.
Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters
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TEGUCIGALPA, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Hondurans and Nicaraguans on Saturday congregated in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula and began to march towards the United States, television images showed, the first such caravan to be formed this year in Central America.

The caravan set off days before leftist President-elect Xiomara Castro takes office in Honduras on Jan. 27. She has vowed to revive the economy and combat corruption that stokes waves of mass migration to the United States.

The migrants, mostly young people carrying backpacks on their shoulders and women with children, left a bus terminal in the northern city of San Pedro Sula for the border post of Corinto in an attempt to enter Guatemala, according to television images.

"We are leaving because there is no work in this country, education and health are deplorable in Honduras, so we have to look for a better future elsewhere," Vanessa Caceres, a Honduran woman walking with her husband and two young daughters, told the Canal 5 television channel.

Television footage showed large groups of about 1,000 people on the march and others who intend to follow the same route continue to arrive at the bus terminal in San Pedro Sula.

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Another smaller group of people left San Pedro Sula towards the Guatemalan border earlier in the morning.

Guatemala's migration institute said Honduran authorities had informed it there were about 110 mostly Nicaraguan migrants that were reaching the Honduran border crossing of Corinto. Guatemalan police and military awaited them on the other side, it added.

Previously Honduran police have formed road blocks to prevent many such caravans from reaching the border crossing. Guatemalan security forces have also clashed with migrant groups when they tried to force their way across without documents.

The first caravan of the year comes after deep economic hardship and poverty that plagues 62% of the Honduran population, made worse over by the coronavirus pandemic and two back-to-back hurricanes in 2020 that hobbled the economy.

"We are leaving because there is no work or anything here, we have to leave Honduras to prosper because we are not going to prosper here," Pablo Meléndez, carrying his son, told the HCH TV channel.

(Additional reporting by Sofia Menchu Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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